Rain halts Valentino Rossi’s 2009 Yamaha debut

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Torrential rain forced Valentino Rossi to abandon plans to get his first impressions of Yamaha’s early 2009 prototype YZR-M1 at the Twin Ring Motegi today.

Looking surprisingly perky despite huge celebrations to mark his sixth MotoGP title success last night, Rossi arrived at the circuit at noon, just as the forecast rain began to fall.

Within an hour conditions had got much worse and the test was abandoned without Rossi even donning his Fiat Yamaha leathers.

Yamaha bosses had wanted the Italian to give early feedback on the new bike, with engine performance a prime focus, particularly slow speed acceleration.

Rossi’s team boss Davide Brivio told MCN that chassis developments were also a key target: “We are still catching up a bit on Ducati’s engine performance and also Honda has been very good. We have to try and come closer and also in the chassis this year we experienced Bridgestone tyres for the first time and our chassis was not really designed for them after our long experience with Michelin.

"We will have something designed to suit Bridgestone more because we have collected a lot of information this year. We are looking for more set-up options because sometimes we have been at the limit with this chassis. It has been more okay but we can create more space to have more adjustments and to open up the options, “said Brivio.

Rossi, who wrapped up the 2008 world championship with three races remaining in Japan, will now have to wait until a two-day test session after the season’s final race in Valencia to debut the new M1.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt